Some Night, Some Waltz, Some Girl
A.J. Mills, Bennett Scott & Fred Godfrey — London: Star Music; Bert Feldman; Melbourne: Dinsdales’, 1916; Toronto: Leo Feist, [1927?].
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“From Blackpool to Bournemouth is a big jump, but both are under the spell of the same new melody cleverly woven by those masters of songcraft, A.J. Mills, Bennett Scott, and Fred Godfrey.”1
“It is always unwise to prophesy. But the Star Company consider that they should have a most exceptional number in ‘Some Night, Some Waltz, Some Girl,’ by Fred Godfrey (composer of ‘Blue Eyes’), A.J. Mills, and Bennett Scott. On Monday next the song is to be sung by Miss Eileen Desmond in Jno. R. Huddlestone and John Tiller’s big Blackpool production, Well I Never Did! For the moment the centre of the song world is shifted from London to the popular west coast resort, and more than one prominent pantomime manager has arranged to be on hand with a view to the requirements of Christmas productions. The publishers of ‘Some Night, etc.’ claim this is one of those few and far between songs that are equally adapted for music hall, theatre, and concert platform.”2
“All eyes in the variety world have been turned towards Blackpool during the past few days. The big event of the summer season is undoubtedly the production of Jno. R. Huddlestone and John Tiller’s revue-ballet at the Winter Gardens.. The Star Music Co. are well represented in this fine show,...‘Well. I Never Did! First and foremost, Mills, Scott, and Godfrey’s new ballad, ‘Some night, some waltz, some girl’ was sung with exquisite charm by that accomplished vocal actress Miss Eileen Desmond, and the greatest expectations in connection with this song have been more than realised.”3
“A second visit to the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, serves to confirm the earlier impression of Miss Eileen Desmond’s phenomenal success with Mills, Scott, and Godfrey’s delightful new ballad, ‘Some night, some waltz, some girl.’ In the busy west coast pleasure resort one cannot escape this ear-haunting melody, which breaks out consistently at practically every place of amusement, from the Tower Ballroom, where Mr. J.W. Gagg’s splendid band performs it as a walt, to the smallest picture hall, where the pianist will play it to the latest ‘love-picture’”4
“Miss Alice Hollander is this week introducing to London audiences (at the Euston Palace) the remarkable ballad by Fred Godfrey, A.J. Mills and Bennett Scott, ‘Some night, some waltz, some girl,’ which has had such a splendid send-off at Blackpool. In connection with this song, the writers have certainly achieved a feat in turning what might be called a sporty Americanism [some...] into quite a serious phrase. Needless to say, the song is handled by Miss Hollander in a most artistic manner. Her wonderful contralto voice and powerful acting combine to conjure up a most charming and romantic elusion. Her success is emphatic and instantaneous.”5
“One of the peculiar features of the new ballad, ‘Some Night, Some Waltz, Some Girl,’ is the fact that it makes the same irresistible appeal to all kinds of vocalists. Lately it has figured largely on the programmes at Sunday Concerts, such as those organised by the National Sunday League. Artistes of the soubrette type are anxious to feature it [as a wonderful] voice is not essential in order to score a success with it, and on top of this, it appeals instantly to vocalists of the very highest calibre. [Albert] Marini, the great Russian tenor, is a case in point. He heard the ballad played over for the first time only this week, and immediately expressed his intention of producing it at once.”6
And, at the risk of egging the pudding, here’s another one:
“Not since the foundation of the company, some ten years ago, have the Star people issued a number with such geat potentialities as their latest ballad, ‘Some night, some waltz, some girl.’ Not only has the song proved an instantaneous success on [sic] the halls, but it is the first Star song to be generally taken up by the best-known artistes of the concert world. The writers...may be heartily complimented.”7
One would not normally associate this pleasant waltz ballad with street rowdyism, but a Scottish newspaper nonetheless had a go:
“The police are evidently determined to put a stop to the incipient rowdyism which has been observable in our streets, especially at a late hour of the night. A band of five youths, all over 16 years of age, were gaily marching along Commerce Street [Arbroath] about 11:10 on Saturday night 20th inst. (as Acting Chief Constable Pyper put it), ‘shouting, bawling and singing scraps of songs.’ It was not mentioned whether they were singing the latest music hall craze, ‘Some night, some waltz, some girl,’ but at any rate that night when they waltzed into High Street they found ‘some policeman’ waiting for them. There was an encore in the Police Court, when the quintette of vocalists appeared before Bailie Anderson.”8
And as the subject seems to be run-ins with the authorities, one should mention the case of Music Hall performer Frank Gleeson, who sang Some, Night, Some Waltz, Some Girl at the Palace, Blackpool, and other theatres in early 1917. The problem was that Frank had taken to billing himself as “Driver Gleeson, the ANZAC tenor,” for which appropriation of that legendary corps’ name he was fined a hefty £5.9
The Band Of H.M. 1st Life Guards, in “Empireland” (The Winner 3090, 1916)
Black Diamonds Band, in “Songs Of Blighty” (Zonophone Twin 1715, 1916)
Violet Essex as “Vera Desmond” (HMV B-697, 1915)
Alice Hollander (Clarion 168, 1916)
Stanley Kirkby (Jumbo 1455, 1916)
Ernest Pike, as “Herbert Payne” (Zonophone Twin 1628, 1916)
Bert Walters (The Winner 3026, 1916)
The Unity Quartette (Columbia 2742, 1917)
This immensely popular waltz was practically ubiquitous in the latter half of 1916. Here is a sampling of its many performers: Miss Ray Barry & Miss Vera Rejane in pantomime Dick Whittington, Victoria Opera House, Burnley (January 1917); Clara Beck in pantomime Humpty Dumpty, Gaiety, Dublin (January 1917); Violet Blythe in pantomime Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Leeds (December 1916); Gladys Carlton in pantomime Beauty And The Beast, Brixton Theatre, London (December 1916); Victoria Carmen, Grand, Hanley [Stoke-on-Trent] (September 1916) and Empire, Swansea (November 1916); Constance Cayley in J.C. Williamson’s pantomime The House That Jack Built, Melbourne, Australia (1916); Violet Davidson & Bobbie Burns, Beach Pavilion, Aberdeen (May 1917); Eileen Desmond in Jno. R. Huddlestone and John Tiller’s revue Well I Never Did!, Winter Gardens, Blackpool (July 1916); Irene Dillon in pantomime Sinbad The Sailor, Kennington (December 1916); Nellie Gallifent, Victoria Pier, Blackpool (July 1916); Kathleen Gordon & Cecily Dorrick in pantomime Crusoe, Hammersmith Theatre, London (December 1916); Joan Hay, Holborn Empire, London (September 1916); Mabel Hirst in revue Some Girls, New Empire, Burnley (November 1916); Alice Hollander, Chelsea Palace and Euston Palace, London (July 1916); Jennie Hylton, Palace, Blackburn (January 1917); Reginald Jecks, Victoria Opera House, Burnley (October 1916); Alexander Lee, The Pier, Paignton (July 1916); Vi Leslie in P.T. Selbit’s revue The Joy Wheel, Putney Hippodrome, London (September 1916); Jennie Lynwood in pantomime Mother Hubbard, Dalston Theatre, London (December 1916); Eva Macdonald in pantomime Cinderella, Willesden, London (December 1916); Albert Marini, Russian tenor, Palace, Cork, Ireland (January 1917); Blanche Pearl in pantomime Red Riding Hood, Royal Theatre, Edinburgh (December 1916); Mabel & Hester Reeve in pantomime Jack And Jill, Middlesex, Theatre, London (January 1917); Ruth Shannon in pantomime Cinderella, Grand, Derby (December 1916); Peggy Walsh and Mollie Milne, Finsbury Park Empire, London (November 1916); and Nellie Wigley, Stratford Empire, London (July 1916).
The postwar successors to the Canadian Army troupe The Dumbells resurrected the song in Capt. M.W. Plunkett’s Dumbells Ninth Annual Revue, Oo-La-La, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto (August 29–September 10, 1927), where it was sung by Harry Binns.
1 “The Star Co.‘s Songs,” The Era, 19 July 1916, p. 21.